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Listen. Stephanie S. Tolan; Harper Collins, 2006.

Grade Level: 6-8

ISBN & Cost: HB: 0060579358 $15.99

PB: 0060579374 $5.99

LIB: 0060579366 $16.89


Blanket Permission to Reproduce Book Jackets:

Preferred wording: Listen. Stephanie S. Tolan; Harper Collins, 2006.

Synopsis: The summer Charley had been dreading becomes a summer of healing, not only of her leg that was damaged in the accident, but of her heart that has been wounded since her mother’s death. The feral dog that was just a nuisance to some, is the catalyst for love, trust and family renewal.

General Review:

 Twelve-year-old Charley, who is recovering from a recent car accident while still mourning the death of her mother, is dreading the upcoming summer. With no one around, her best friend left for the summer and her father works all the time, Charley has nothing to do but work on gaining strength in her injured leg. On one of her walks around the lake she spots Coyote, a shy intelligent stray. She makes it her goal that summer to tame Coyote and make him her dog. Through the processing of taming the dog and growing to trust her heart to someone else, Charley comes to terms with her mother’s death. Thought provoking and beautiful descriptions of nature makes this a charming story for animal lovers.

Themes: Mothers and daughters, Death, Animal stories, Accidents

Author information:

6 th Book of Junior Authors & Illustrators

Something About the Author: vol. 38

Writers for Young Adults: supplement 1

Continuum Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature

Discussion Questions: (Standard 3; Benchmark 3)

  1. In what ways are Coyote and Charley alike?
  2. Charley was having trouble coming to terms with her mother’s death. Give examples from the book that shows this. By the end of the book things have changed. Give examples from the book that shows she has come full circle in the mourning process.
  • The title of books relate to the story line. How does the title “Listen” relate to this story.
  • Training a dog takes time and patience. Taming a wild dog would take also courage. Would you have the patience and courage to tame a wild animal? Why or why not?


  1. Research the training of a dog. Develop a flow chart on the steps that you go through to train a dog. Present it to the class. (Standard 4: Benchmark 1 & 2)
  • Put yourself in Charley’s shoes. Put a temporary bandage on one of your legs so that your leg is stiff. Go for a long walk. Write down everything you felt about your leg, etc.. (Standard 9: Benchmark 1)
  • Research teenage car accidents. Develop a powerpoint presentation for the class. Include the number of accidents, age of drivers, death, etc.. (Standard 4: Benchmark 1 & 2)


Similar Books for Further Reading

Dog’s Life by Ann Martin

Julia’s Kitchen by Brenda Ferber

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt